We are seated in a small room. No more than 30-35 hard chairs in rows face the performers at the Jazz Association of Charleston building on Spring Street. Not 10 feet away are two local virtuoso musicians; saxophonist Mark Sterbank and pianist Gerald Gregory. We have spent a lovely morning wandering the quaint streets of downtown Charleston, enjoyed some fine low country cuisine at Magnolia’s, then hiked 2 miles to JAC to hear this performance, a small part of Charleston’s 17-day-long Spoleto Festival. The two-hour performance was remarkable including compositions by each of the musicians and a couple old favorites. Each was followed by enthusiastic applause with the session ending in a standing ovation. A fine way to spend an afternoon in Charleston.
While we have been to Charleston in the past we never had the time to explore. Now we do. A great city to be sure, a must-see if you’ve not been. It is history-laden, full of lovely architecture, wrought iron fences, gates, fountains, parks, quiet off-street spots to while away some time, cobblestone streets, hundreds of fine eating establishments and watering holes. We must leave soon; it’s too hard to pass up that signature red velvet bread pudding with strawberry cheesecake ice cream at Blossom’s.
We stroll down Murray Boulevard along the bay with its historic mansions, enjoy lunch on East Bay Street, visit the SC Aquarium, stroll through a Spoleto art exhibit/sale in Citadel Square, and pass through the campuses of the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina (both on our way back to the marina). Everything is within a 1 or 2 mile walk from Tivoli and Ashley Marina offers shuttle rides on demand anywhere in the downtown area, a great service we use to start our day in a particular locale.
Only two days into our Charleston stop and we already plan to return in the Fall on our voyage south.